NASHVILLE, Tenn.-The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration has reduced the amount of a proposed fine assessed against Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. to $85,000 from $218,000, following a July 27 meeting with the tire maker that produced an informal agreement. Originally, Tennessee OSHA had requested a $210,000 fine for a citation covering three alleged violations of the federal lockout/tagout standard at BFS' La Vergne, Tenn., tire plant, and another $8,000 in fines related to training and the use of machine guards at the company's Warren County, Tenn., tire plant.
In the accord, BFS agreed, among other things, to pay the reduced fine and fund a training program for workers in the lockout/tagout standard.
It also was stipulated that BFS' entering the agreement was not an admission of guilt.
Cooper to supply Japanese retailer
FINDLAY, Ohio-Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has landed what a spokesman called its most significant business deal ever in Japan: supplying passenger car radials to Autobacs Seven Co. Ltd.
Autobacs, based in Osaka, is Japan's largest retailer of automotive tires, parts and accessories, Cooper said, with more than 350 franchised and company-owned stores and annual sales of $1.6 billion.
Initially, Cooper is producing two lines of radials with the Autobacs label: the Alfroad, an S-speed rated tire in 70 and 65 series sizes; and the Volteegu, H- and V-speed rated tires in 60, 55 and 50 series sizes.
Autobacs also has been named the exclusive supplier of Cooper-brand tires in Japan.
``This is a small deal in the short term,'' said Scott Soffen, an analyst with Lehman Brothers Inc. ``...But in the long term, this could be a very big deal.''
Mr. Soffen said Cooper would initially supply about 1 percent of Autobacs' estimated $500 million in tire sales a year, but he expects that number to increase.
``Right now, Autobacs is just testing the waters,'' he said. ``They want to see how Cooper performs.''
But the analyst said he believes the Japanese firm is going into the deal with a lot of confidence in Cooper. In a prepared statement, Masao Sumino, executive vice president of Autobacs, called Cooper ``the world's best custom-branded aftermarket tire manufacturer.''
``That is a big compliment,'' Mr. Soffen said.
Pep Boys to sell in Puerto Rico
PHILADELPHIA-Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack has announced plans to enter Puerto Rico, where it plans to open eight automotive ``supercenters'' in 1995.
The company said the move will be its first outside the continental United States.
Pep Boys supercenters are 23,000-sq.-ft. outlets with a warehouse format that feature 24,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) and 11 service bays.
Chairman and CEO Mitchell Leibovitz said Pep Boys foresees 25-30 units in Puerto Rico eventually, representing a capital investment in excess of $50 million.
The company currently operates 398 units in 29 states, including 13 supercenters opened thus far this year. Pep Boys said it plans to open an additional 37 supercenters by the end of its fiscal year, Jan. 31.
Kmart to close 110 U.S. stores
TROY, Mich.-To boost the performance of its core U.S. discount store division, Kmart Corp. announced Sept. 8 it will close 110 underperforming Kmart stores in 31 states and thin its management ranks by 10 percent.
The store closings are part of a corporate restructuring program Kmart announced in January and are in addition to the 60 stores closed since then.
Of the 110 stores in the Sept. 8 announcement, 40 operated auto service departments, and while the stores themselves are slated to close next January or February, the auto service departments were closed Sept. 10, a Kmart spokeswoman said.
Nationwide, Kmart operates 2,350 discount stores; about half have auto service departments.
The stores being closed average 40,000 square feet in size-too small to be competitive, the spokeswoman said. Stores Kmart is building today average 110,000 square feet, she said.
Fifty-nine of the stores are in communities of 30,000 or fewer-markets Kmart will leave completely, the spokeswoman said.
About 6,000 employees, including 650 managers, will lose their jobs as a result of the closings. Over the next two years, Kmart will trim an additional 1,650 from its management ranks, which currently total 23,000. The company has 260,000 hourly employees.